Solar System Overview

Constituents: Sun, planets, asteroids, dwarf planets, comets, zodiacal dust, solar wind. Overall structure; rotation and revolution. Formation scenario. Kepler's laws. Falling bodies.

The first week introduces key elements of the Solar System, including the Sun, terrestrial and giant planet, smaller bodies, and the solar environment. Planetary motion is briefly described, and Kepler's laws are introduced and applied.


Please read the following in Carroll & Ostlie:

1.1 The Greek Tradition
The Geocentric Universe — Retrograde Motion
1.2 The Copernican Revolution
Bringing Order to the Planets — Retrograde Motion Revisited
19.1 A Brief Survey
General Characteristics of the Planets — Moons of the Planets — The Asteroid Belt — The Comets and Kuiper Belt Objects — Meteorites — Solar System Formation: A Brief Overview
2.1 Elliptical Orbits
Tycho Brahe: The Great Naked-Eye Observer — Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion — The Geometry of Elliptical Motion


Solar System Overview, 21 August 2012. (Includes preliminary material).


Problem Set #1: Due 28 August 2012

Joshua E. Barnes      (barnes at
Updated: 21 August 2012
Valid HTML 4.01!